The vegan grandpa is one of the happiest guys in town these days.  It’s been a rainy spring in New England and he is the proud owner of a rain barrel.  In fact, he has two.

What’s so great about a rain barrel?  It means you can give vegetables and flowers an extra dose of the heaven-sent rain that they got yesterday, the day before, and last week.  While the rest of us are feeding our plants a diet of chemical treated water from a faucet, Grandpa is giving his the equivalent of angel tears.

It was those rain barrels that I was thinking about last week in spin class, watching my own sweat drip-drip-drip onto the floor.  The thought occurred to me: could I be recycling my own sweat?  Should I be?

A few years ago, a couple of Swedish guys with the help of UNICEF built a machine that could recycle the sweat from clothing, using washing machine parts, a coffee pot, and a filter.  The “sweat machine” actually worked, and according to an article at fastcompany over 1,000 Swedes drank the recycled water and lived to tell about it.

But the same article also called the machine “a stunt”, saying it was only built to bring attention to the problem of too little drinking water on the planet. They didn’t mass produce the sweat machine.  You cannot purchase one at Wal-Mart or even at IKEA.

I have to admit that when I first thought about recycling sweat, I did envision it as a thirst quencher or to take the edge off a glass of bourbon.  But, after time passed, I thought: Ew! Who would drink that?

But, as the vegan grandpa will attest, there are plenty of things you can do with water besides drinking it.

Let’s go back to the garden.  It’s a long summer, with plenty of days in the 80’s and 90’s.  Last year we had drought conditions for much of Massachusetts.  I’m sure my roses or tomato plants would be willing to soak up some recycled perspiration.

Maybe you don’t want to drink your sweat, but how about putting it in the hot tub? The sweat was yours to begin with, so why not bring it back to the source?   It’s the circle of life.  Heating it up will probably take out even more impurities.

Think about all the water required in cooking.  We have to wash off the food.  We have to clean areas where we prep the food, and the pots and pans used to cook the food.  Finally, we have to clean the plates, bowls, cups, and utensils used to eat the food.

And there are so many more places that require water.  We need water to wash and iron our clothes.  Some people heat their homes with water.  And don’t get me started on people who own swimming pools.

But, for now, the technology is just not there for people to wash their vehicles or power wash their homes with recycled sweat.  That’s going to take time. Until then, I’m going to take a swig from the rain barrel when no one is looking, and worry about where my sweat goes later.

Have you ever thought about recycled sweat?   What would you do with it?  Please leave a comment…